Born in London to Filipino parents, Louise Odquier, strategy director at 20ten understands what it is to live in at least two worlds. She identifies as a ‘third culture kid’ or TCK - someone who was raised in a culture different to their parents' and lived in a different environment during a significant part of their child development years.
As a strategist this means she has an inquisitive perspective, always asking why people live the way they do, how cultures emerge and it is this viewpoint that she brings to work each day.
“I have always been on the fringes,” she says. “Growing up in the UK with immigrant parents meant I didn’t naturally fit into either culture, so I blended them to come up with my own. It’s this cultural hybridity that gives me almost a third dimensional way of looking at things. I’m always asking why things are the way they are and what connects us?”
This feeling of being a TCK and also keenly observing the way people live, means that Louise has also dedicated a lot of her life outside work to travel and for a long time spent her career working by preference as a freelancer.
“I find it fascinating to learn about different people’s behaviours, rituals and identities and what experiences shape them,” she says. “Japan is my number one destination. It combines so much innovation with tradition and there’s so many different subcultures to immerse yourself in. Travel inspires me and it has taught me to watch and listen in ways that I would not have developed if I had not been lucky enough to see much of the world.”
Louise’s passion for culture has rubbed off on some of her past creative work including a loyalty program for BMW. This was inspired by luxury, access and community and included private dinners with chef Jason Atherton who curated a seven-course tasting menu inspired by the BMW 7 Series.
A social campaign for Dr Jart challenged consumers to rethink the culture around the skincare category itself as well as their own relationship with their skin, through an AR technology social campaign and collaboration with the artist rek0de.
It is this approach that has meant Louise has also developed a creative way of approaching client problems and challenges. “I always start with trying to find the tension in the brief. The uncomfortable questions – Why should people care about this brand? What purpose does it – or can it have - in people’s lives? It’s this richness, curiosity and honesty that the 20ten Insights and Creative teams explore that our clients really appreciate.”
Being bold with strategy has meant some great wins for Louise and her colleagues at the agency with lifestyle and household brands such as Disney, PlayStation, New Balance and Puma recently added to 20ten’s portfolio.
The recent New Balance and Intersport work revealed an increase in first time runners and led to the development of a social campaign inspired by the idea of a personal coach to help runners evolve from that fresh start. Meanwhile, for the This is London campaign, 20ten noted that many people in the capital felt disconnected from their city, leading to a 360 campaign that worked to reignite the pride in every Londoner.
Though this is a creative industry, there are bound to be large organisations that will apply formulaic methods of problem-solving, dismiss creative ideas that are outside the bounds of conventional thinking and often just give clients what they expect.
Louise says that being bold and bringing a new perspective to a client is far more valuable. “We aren’t afraid to push the boundaries and come up with bigger ideas than are expected of an agency our size. Brands want to bring their purpose to life as their consumers demand more from them. So for us, it is core that we unlock new ways to do that. In a world where culture transcends countries and technology is what helps people stay connected.”